Ken Rudge, St. Austell, England
'Therefore seeing we have received this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not'.
2 Cor. 4. 1.
In the things of God there never has been a time for giving up. The stewardship contract we have with Christ has no let out or retirement clauses written in to it. God has no pension policy for His servants. What we do have are 'mercy' and 'grace’, which we have received in ample abundance and continue to receive, so that 'we faint not'! As a result, 'we are not for giving in, turning back or losing heart'.
How easy it is to divert to the more palatable pathway and the more popular route home to glory; but how disastrously dull, lacking in reward and fulfilment!
It is the mindset of our generation to have what we want and in the way we want it and usually with the least exertion or cost to ourselves in getting it. The mind of God, however, is the mind that dominated and drove our blessed Lord Jesus when He was here in our world, Phil. 2. 5-8. This is the only way to live and die if we are at all interested in the things that are Christ's.
So we have to come to terms with living in a paradoxical world. That is never to see and accept things as they appear to be, but rather learn to view and appreciate them as they are from the divine standpoint. The apostle Paul was constantly doing this. So he will say, 'we are troubled . . . yet not distressed . . . perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed', 2 Cor. 4. 8-9.
It is with this spirit of determination and perception that we embrace the challenges of a New Year, come what may, in the will of the Lord. We are adequate in Him. We are workers together with Him; this is a 'time accepted' and 'a day of salvation'. This is the only opportunity in which we can prove Him to 'hear us when we cry to Him' and 'to be there to succour us in an hour of need'. Now is the time to show that we have not received the grace of God in vain, 2 Cor. 6. 1-2.
The first issue of the magazine of a new year is always a special challenge. I'm sure the contents of this one will not disappoint you. The 'keynote' article centres on the gospel and our continuing obligation to preach it; the final 'Church History' also focuses upon early church evangelism. There are four new authors to this magazine and we welcome their first efforts to provide balanced and challenging ministry for the Lord's people. Many requests to follow up with other articles on current legislation and its implications for local assemblies has resulted in our article regarding the protection of children in our care. May the Lord be pleased to bless His word to every reader for His own glory.